Do prenatal steroids improve the survival of late preterm infants with complex congenital heart defects?

Abstract. AIM: We evaluated the use of prenatal steroids and the effect of that practice on hospital mortality of late preterm infants with complex congenital heart defects (CHD). METHODS: Retrospective review of records of late preterm infants with complex CHD infants that were cared for in a single tertiary perinatal center between 2002 and 2009. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to determine which of the risk factors commonly associated with death prior to discharge from the hospital predict the outcome (hospital death). RESULTS: Of the 106 late preterm infants with complex CHD, 31(29%) died and 15 (14%) received PNS. Endotracheal intubation in the delivery room (42% vs 15%), necrotizing enterocolitis (10% vs 0%) and hypoplastic left heart syndrome (52% vs 25%) were statistically more frequent in non-surviving infants. Non-surviving infants were more frequently treated with prenatal steroids (23% vs 11%) but this difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.131). Using logistic regression analysis, delivery room intubation (OR 4.91; 95% CI 1.78 – 13.51) and the hypoplastic left heart syndrome (OR 3.29; 95% CI 1.28 – 8.48), but not prenatal steroids were independently associated with increased risk of hospital death. CONCLUSIONS: In a selected population of late preterm infants with complex CHD, prenatal steroid treatment did not independently influence survival.

*Corresponding Author: 

Dr. Mohammad A. Attar, 8621 Mott Hospital, 1540 E. Hospital Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-4254, USA. Tel.: +1 734 763 4109; Fax: +1 734 763 2278; E-mail: